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Ombudsman Rob Behrens comments on publication of Times Health Commission report

The Times Health Commission yesterday published a report into the state of health and social care in Britain. The report identifies failings within the NHS and suggests how to reform and improve the service.

It includes recommendations from professionals across the industry, with Ombudsman Rob Behrens explaining how the culture of the NHS should be improved to prevent patient safety being put at risk.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Ombudsman Rob Behrens yesterday said:

"The final report of the Times Health Commission presents a stark but depressingly familiar portrait of a health system under strain amid growing workforce pressures. Once again, we see evidence of the human cost of delivering care in increasingly difficult circumstances for patients, families, carers and staff themselves.

“I welcome the recommendations made by the Commission. The move away from highly adversarial clinical negligence practices echoes calls I made last year in our report about avoidable deaths, ‘Broken trust: making patient safety more than just a promise’. This is essential to bridge the gap between patient safety ambition and the current state of play on the challenging NHS frontline.

“The recommendation to give my Office powers to investigate issues without the need for people to complain about them is also very welcome. I have long called for these powers as a way of creating a fairer system that enables us to intervene early on critical issues such as failings in mental health services. We know that people who live in challenging circumstances, such as those living in long-term inpatient mental health care, are very unlikely to bring complaints to the Ombudsman. But without these powers we cannot investigate potential issues before they become a crisis.

“The golden thread running through this report is, once again, the need for honesty, transparency and compassion across the board, from those delivering care to policy makers and health leaders. Cultures of blame and cover-ups cost lives. Never has the importance of learning from mistakes at all levels been so pivotal to the future of the NHS."


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